Group Counseling

Group counseling is a type of therapy in which several students meet with a trained therapist(s), often focusing on a common goal. Members learn from others' experiences, receive and give feedback, receive support and learn that they are not alone. Groups offer individuals the opportunity to share personal concerns in a safe, confidential and supportive environment. Research shows it to be as effective as individual counseling, and for some issues, it can be more effective. Students can benefit from group therapy in many ways:
  • Connect with others facing similar issues
  • Learn and practice new skills in a safe space
  • Share experiences and gain perspective from talking with others
  • Improve self-awareness, self-confidence and social skills
  • Enhance acceptance of self and others

Counseling Services at Sindecuse Health Center offers several groups open to current Western Michigan University students. Most groups meet weekly and are open to new participants. Call Counseling Services at (269) 387-1850 if you are interested in participating. You may have a brief pre-screening appointment with a counselor prior to participation in groups.

Groups offered Fall 2023

Please call (269) 387-1850 to see if a group is active. If participation is low, a group may not continue to the end of the semester.  Groups meet weekly for the duration of the session.

After Silence – Virtual(WebEx)

Session 1: Sept. 11, 2–3:30 p.m.
Session 2: Nov. 8, 2–3:30 p.m.
Open Empowerment group for all individuals who have experienced or witnessed physical or sexual violence. 
Facilitated by Melissa Plair, MA, LPC and Grace Orlando, LMSW.

Art Therapy – In Person

Session 1: Sept. 11, 2–3:30
Session 2: Nov. 6, 2–3:30
Open Building a foundation for coping skills and growth to managing stress from negative and/or traumatic experiences through art. 
Facilitated by Jessi Ailstock, LPC, ATR—registered art therapist and Vanessa Marr, Ph.D, LLMSW

Emotional Survival Skills – In Person

Session 1: Sept. 8, 10–11:30 a.m. 
Session 2: Oct. 6, 10–11:30 a.m. 
Session 3: Nov. 10, 10–11:30 a.m. 
Emotional skills crash course. Learn emotional regulation, stress management, and interpersonal relationship skills in a supportive environment. 
Facilitator: Vanessa Marr, Ph.D, LLMSW and Patrick Hanlin, M.Ed, LPC.

Finding Connection, Thriving in Relationships- Interpersonal Process Group – In Person

Session 1: Sept. 14, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m
Session 2: Nov. 9, 11 a.m.–12:30 p.m  
Friendship, romantic partnership, associations, acquaintances, family, professional relationships. Participants will explore connection within various kinds of relationships; how connection is formed, and what makes connection and relationships meaningful. Ways to establish, maintain and navigate relationships as they evolve will be explored. This group is open to all enrolled students interested in exploring ways to thrive within relationships. 
Facilitators:  Melissa Plair, MA, LPC and Mary Z. Anderson, Ph.D.

Graduate Students of Color Support Group – In Person

Session 1: Sept. 15, 10–11:30 a.m. (16 weeks)
This group offers support to students of color navigating the experience and challenges of graduate school at a predominantly white institution. 
Facilitators: Danielle Standish, Ph.D., and Melissa M. Plair, MA, LPC.

Level Up – Hybrid In Person and Virtual(WebEx)

Session 1: Sept. 15, 11 a.m–12:30 p.m.(16 weeks)
Therapeutic Dungeons and Dragons Group:  Get creative. Build skills. Explore new worlds as well as yourself. Train your dragon. 
Facilitated by Susanne Stefanski, LPC.

Mindful Meditation – In Person

Session 1: Sept. 29, 1011:30 a.m. 
Session 2: Nov. 10, 1011:30 a.m. 
An experiential mindfulness / meditation group.
Facilitators: Grace Orlando, LMSW and Kim Berning, LMSW.

When Parents Have Problems – Virtual(WebEx)

Session 1: Sept. 12, 1011:30 a.m. 
Session 2: Nov. 7, 1011:30 a.m. 
Open For students struggling with mentally ill and/or addicted parent(s).  
Facilitators: Abbie Andrzejak, LMSW and Patrick Hanlin, M.Ed, LPC.

Women of Color – In Person

Session 1: Sept. 15, 23:30 p.m. 
Session 2: Nov. 10, 23:30 p.m. 
All women who identify as a visible minority are invited to join this support group.  Participants will explore the intersection of race, gender, orientation, socioeconomic status, and relationships in a safe and supportive environment.  
Facilitators: Danielle Standish, Ph.D., and Tatyana Smith, DGA